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Globally, I will do everything in my power to free our boys. In the narrow sense of their work, struggle, and in the broad sense – until Russia… does not detach itself from us


Film director, screenwriter and writer, civic activist, former political prisoner was born on 13 July 1976 in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine.
From 1993 to 1998 he studied at the Crimean branch of the Kyiv National Economic University. He attended film courses in Moscow. In 2008, he co-founded the Kray Kinema company.

In 2008, he made the educational short film A Wonderful Day for a Banana Fish, and in 2009 – The Horn of the Bull. In 2012, he debuted his first feature film, Gamer, at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. “Gamer is a film about guys who are gamers. In 2013, at the Odesa Film Festival, Oleg Sentsov presented his new project, Rhino. Work on this project was suspended due to Oleg’s active participation in the protests.

Since the beginning of the Euromaidan, Oleg Sentsov has become an active participant in it. In particular, he joined the AutoMaidan activists. And after the beginning of the temporary annexation of Crimea by Russia, he often travelled to his native Simferopol, where he tried to organise rallies ‘For a United Country’, and also supplied food and all the necessary supplies to the Ukrainian military who were in Crimea.

On 10 May 2014, he was detained in Simferopol by Russian security forces and on 25 August 2015, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a maximum security colony on charges of terrorism.

The first to defend his colleague was the famous Ukrainian director Serhiy Loznitsa in Cannes, where his documentary project Maidan was screened with triumph; theatre and film actress Ada Rogovtseva appealed to her colleagues to help in some way to release the man who is innocent of any wrongdoing.

The director was defended by the European Film Academy, the National Film Union, the Russian Cinema Union, the Confederation of Cinematographers’ Unions of the CIS and Baltic States, civil society activists, and a number of major film festivals and filmmakers. Official Kyiv has repeatedly appealed to Russia to release the Ukrainians detained in a trumped-up case, but to no avail.

In February 2016, Oleg Sentsov was transferred to Yakutia to serve his sentence. On 7 October 2016, the Russian Ministry of Justice refused to extradite Oleg Sentsov to Ukraine, claiming that, in accordance with the law on the annexation of Crimea to Russia, he is a Russian citizen. On 6 February 2017, Russia again refused to extradite Sentsov and Kolchenko.

In 2017, a documentary film by Russian filmmaker Askold Kurov, The Trial: The Russian state against Oleg Sentsov”.

In September 2017, he was transferred to the ‘FKU IR-18 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug’ in the village of Kharp. In October 2017, he was transferred to the correctional colony No. 8 ‘White Bear’ in Labytnangi (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug).

One of the most famous facts in Sentsov’s biography is his hunger strike in prison. On 14 May 2018, while in the White Bear colony, Sentsov went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the release of Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian prisons.

On 7 September 2019, he was returned as part of a prisoner of war exchange with Russia.

After his release, Oleg Sentsov has been actively engaged in public, professional and publishing activities. He has been awarded the Taras Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine, the Order ‘For Courage’, and is also a laureate of the Sakharov Prize.